Learn how to stay active and discover the benefits of exercise

It's free, easy to take, has an immediate effect and you don't need a GP to get some. It's name? Exercise!

Exercise, the swiss army knife of medical treatments

Whether you have been referred here by a member of our medical team or found the page yourself, we hope to get you more confident at exercising! We will talk about some of the benefits you can get out of exercise, how much you need to be getting, and then show you some local and national resources you can access.

Benefits of physical activity

“If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented,” says Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant.

How much do you need?

Every little counts – even 15 minutes a day has been shown to have a large impact. Each week you should aim to reach:

Moderate activity will raise your heart rate, and make you breathe faster and feel warmer. One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity level is if you can still talk, but not sing.

Examples of moderate intensity activities:

  • Brisk walking
  • Water aerobics
  • Riding a bike
  • Dancing
  • Doubles tennis
  • Pushing a lawn mower
  • Hiking
  • Rollerblading


Try the aerobic workout videos in the NHS Fitness Studio.

Or you can split your exercise between:

Vigorous intensity activity makes you breathe hard and fast. If you’re working at this level, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath.

In general, 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity can give similar health benefits to 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity.

Most moderate activities can become vigorous if you increase your effort.

Examples of vigorous activities:

  • Jogging or running
  • Swimming fast
  • Riding a bike fast or on hills
  • Walking up the stairs
  • Sports, like football, rugby, netball and hockey
  • Skipping rope
  • Aerobics
  • Gymnastics
  • Martial arts

Try the aerobic workout videos in the NHS Fitness Studio.

A strength exercise is any activity that makes your muscles work harder than usual.

This increases your muscles’ strength, size, power and endurance.

The activities involve using your body weight or working against a resistance.

Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include:

  • Lifting weights.
  • Working with resistance bands.
  • Heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling.
  • Climbing stairs.
  • Hill walking.
  • Cycling.
  • Dance.
  • Push-ups, sit-ups and squats.
  • Yoga.

Make up your 150 minutes (or 75) with activities that suit you and your lifestyle. If you enjoy it, it will be much easier to make it a habit that sticks!

How do you get your 150 minutes a week?

People describe how they get their 150 minutes of exercise per week.

“I try and do a lot of things each week to stay active. I cycle into work and back which is about a half-hour cycle each way, and I also generally do little bike rides now and again, so I'd go to the shops, or I'd go and see my friends on my bike instead of getting public transport.”
NHS Patient
“Like many people, I found it really hard to have regular exercise during the week or after work, so what I make sure is I have a gym conveniently positioned between work and home so I can just drop off one or two stops before my home to use the gym, exercise and then go home and relax.”
NHS Patient

Additional information

We hope you have found this page useful and feel more confident about exercise. If you would like to discuss anything further, please book in with a member of our team at Limelight.

Exercise near us:

If you like exercising in the park:

If you like indoor exercise:

Online resources:

For cardio exercise:

For muscle strengthening activities and workouts:



Limelight Health and Well-being Hub, Limelight, 1 St. Brides Way, MANCHESTER M16 9NW

Dr. Fotherby

My name is Dr Fotherby, and I am one of the doctors working at Limelight. I have a specialist interest in exercise – and the benefits it can bring patients.

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